Payson, located at the “heart” of Arizona, is famous for its beauty and dynamic business environment. Payson is a vibrant recreation destination amidst the tall pines and cool waters of Arizona’s Rim Country. Renowned for its western heritage and friendly people, the area enjoys a mild four-season climate that attracts international visitors year around. Payson’s Rim Country represents the trade area, which has an population of nearly 25,000. This hub offers the atmosphere of rural America with the amenities of a metropolis. Payson was recognized by NerdWallet in as one of the top 10 places in Arizona to open a business.

Principal Economic Activities

The local economy serves as a trading center for a wide variety of retail establishments, professional services and manufacturing. Payson will complete a long range water project that will secure Payson’s water source for the future as the town projects growth. Banner Medical Center purchased Payson Regional Medical Center in 2015 and has committed an additional $25 million for future expansions and improvements. The travel and tourism industry are also important to Payson’s economy.

Scenic Attractions

Payson rests at the base of the majestic Mogollon Rim, a 7,000 foot, 200 mile long escarpment in the world's largest Ponderosa Pine forest. The 5,000-foot elevation gives Payson its pleasant climate and four mild seasons. Mountain lakes and trout streams, hiking trails and campsites are within minutes of the center of town. The area offers virtually limitless outdoor recreational activities including hiking, camping, fishing, hunting and biking. Payson gets a few dustings of snow annually. Cross-country skiing and snow-play areas are a short drive away. Local attractions include Tonto Natural Bridge State Park, Shoo-Fly Indian Archeological Site, Tonto Fish Hatchery, The Zane Grey cabin and Rim Country Museum.

Community Facilities

Payson offers a broad range of community facilities including a 16,000-square foot library, museum, state-of-the-art multiplex movie theater, public and private golf courses, lighted tennis courts, two pickleball courts and two softball fields for tournaments. Payson also has an auditorium for concerts, a theater that seats 1,000 and a 36-acre multi-event outdoor entertainment center. Eastern Arizona College in Thatcher supports Gila County Community College in Payson as a provisional district.

Payson has two large parks, Green Valley Park and Rumsey Park. Green Valley Park is a 45-acre park at the west end of Main Street that features three lakes and several decorative fountains. As part of the Arizona Game and Fish Department's urban fishing program, the three lakes are stocked with rainbow trout from October to May. Picnic ramadas and a grassy amphitheater complete the park's family atmosphere. A community swimming pool is located within Rumsey Park as well as a dog park and a small skate park for skating enthusiasts. The town hosts free outdoor concerts in the park during the summer and hosts several intramural sports such as baseball, softball, soccer, golf and football throughout the year. The Payson Area Trails System (PATS) is an in-progress, interconnecting trail system utilizing detached pathways, existing sidewalks and bike lanes in Payson to form an interior trail network. These interior trails will connect to specific Forest Service roads and trails on Payson’s periphery providing a more rustic trail-user experience.

Basic Information

Founded 1884 Incorporated 1973
Elevation 4,982 ft. Location Gila County
Distance to major cities:
Phoenix 93 miles San Diego 442 miles
Tucson 183 miles Los Angeles 459 miles
Las Vegas 342 miles  


2000 2010 2023 (est.)
Payson 13,620 15,270 16,502
Gila County 51,335 53,565 53,525
State of Arizona 5,130,632 6,401,569 7,285,370

Office of Economic Opportunity

Arizona Dept. of Revenue & Arizona Tax Research Foundation


Payson 3.12%
Gila County 1.00%
State 5.60%

Arizona Dept. of Revenue & Arizona Tax Research Foundation

Labor Force

2000 2010 2022
Civilian Labor Force 5,753 6,500 6,343
Unemployed 226 623 166
Unemployment Rate 3.9% 9.6% 2.6%

Office of Economic Opportunity

Workforce Education Attainment

Count Share
Less than high school 910 7.1%
High school or equivalent, no college 3,312 25.7%
Some college or Associate degree 5,445 42.2%
Bachelor’s degree or advanced degree 3,234 25.1%

American Community Survey

Industry (ranked by employment)

  Count Share
Education, health care & social assistance 1,474 24.0%
Arts, entertainment, food & recreation services 1,200 19.6%
Retail trade 982 16.0%
Construction 558 9.1%
Finance, insurance & real estate 434 7.1%
Professional, scientific, & administrative services 415 6.8%
Public administration 248 4.0%
Other services, except public administration 217 3.5%
Transportation, warehousing, & utilities 175 2.9%
Manufacturing 151 2.5%
Information 132 2.2%
Agriculture, forestry, fishing, hunting, & mining 100 1.6%
Wholesale trade 49 0.8%

American Community Survey

This profile was prepared by the Arizona Commerce Authority in cooperation with local sources. For further information, please contact:

Town of Payson
Bobby Davis
303 N. Beeline Hwy.
Payson, AZ 85541
Phone: 928-474-5242
Email: [email protected]
Gila County Community Development
745 N. Rose Mofford Way
Globe, AZ 85501
Phone: 928-402-4424
Rim Country Regional Chamber
of Commerce

100 W. Main Street
Payson, AZ 85547
Phone: 928-474-4515
Email: [email protected]

Local First Arizona
407 E. Roosevelt St.
Phoenix, AZ 85004
Phone: 602-956-0909
Email: [email protected]
Arizona Commerce Authority
Statewide Economic Development Group
100 N. 7th Ave., Suite 400
Phoenix, AZ 85007
Phone: 602-845-1200
Email: [email protected]

ACA has partnered with APS to provide you with Arizona Prospector, a free database to access available real estate opportunities in rural Arizona. Click here to access available properties in this community.